EXPACE Raises $182 Million for Small Satellite Launchers

CASIC Rocket Technology Company, also known as EXPACE, reports that it has raised 1.2 billion yuan ($181.5 million) to develop its Kuaizhou family of satellite launchers, Xinhua reports.

CASIC Rocket Technology Company, based in the central city of Wuhan, said it signed fund raising agreements with eight investment institutions at the Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange Monday.

Zhang Di, vice president of China Sanjiang Space Group and chairman of CASIC Rocket Technology, said the original shareholders did not participate in the capital raising.

EXPACE was established by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC) and China Sanjiang Space Group in February 2016.  The company is focused on commercializing solid-fuel boosters.

Below is a summary of the Kuaizhou family of boosters.

KUAIZHOU ROCKET FAMILY
BOOSTERFIRST LAUNCH
FAIRING SIZE
PAYLOAD TO LEOPAYLOAD TO SSO
 Kuaizhou 19-25-2013Unknown 430 kg (948 lb) to 500 km (310.7 miles)
 Kuaizhou 1A (KZ-1A) 1-9-2017 1.2-1.4 m 300 kg 250 kg (550 lb) to 500 km (310.7 miles); 220 kg (485 lb) to 700 km (435 miles)
 Kuaizhou 11 (KZ-11)First half 20182.2-2.6 m1,500 kg1,000 kg (2,204 lb) to 700 km (435 miles)
Kuaizhou 21 (KZ-21)2025UnknownUnknownUnknown
Source: Wikipedia

The company has already lined up a number of launches for its boosters.

EXPACE this year signed a contract which will involve launching four Kuaizhou-1A rockets within one week in 2018.

The maiden flight of the larger Kuaizhou-11, the company’s latest carrier rocket which will be capable of lifting 1,000 kg to 700 km SSO, is expected to take place in the first half of 2018, carrying six satellites.

The first Kuaizhou-1A launch carried a Xingyun Shiyan-1 satellite, a technical verification test for CASIC’s planned constellation of 156 mini low-Earth orbit satellites aiming to provide narrow-band communications.

“The small low-earth-orbit satellite constellations allow for Internet access and communications everywhere on the planet, including airplanes and ocean-going ships,” Wang Yanan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told state media in November.

Other Chinese companies including Landspace, Linkspace and OneSpace are also developing solid-fuel boosters. CASC has developed the Long March 11 , which is designed to launch from both land and at sea.